Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Reading Envy 195: Muchness

Nadine is back to talk about books we've read and liked recently, and we also end up thinking more about campus novels, mighty tomes, and short science fiction. If you want to contribute to the 200th episode, please see the link in the show notes.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 195: Muchness

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Books discussed:

 

99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai
The Eighth Life by Nino Harataschvili, translated by Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin
Bunny by Mona Awad
The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann


Other mentions:

Contribute to the 200th episode (words, not money)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights by Anon
Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, translated by Sophie Hughes
Eric Karl Anderson, LonesomeReader - interview with Nino, Charlotte, and Ruth
International Booker Prize
Barkskins by Annie Proulx
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
The Pisces by Melissa Broder
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Moo by Jane Smiley
The Lecturer's Tale by James Hynes
Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The Empress of Salt & Fortune by Nghi Vo
P. Djeli Clark
Tor.com ebook club
The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
2020 Locus Awards
Murderbot series by Martha Wells
Clarkesworld
Kate Baker
In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
Frederick Douglass by David W. Blight
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho


Related episodes:

Episode 118 - Reading Envy Readalong: To the Bright Edge of the World
Episode 129 - Coming Back to Books with Nadine
Episode 152 - Kill 'em and Leave with Nadine 
Episode 185 - The Loyal Swineherd (Odyssey readalong)
 

Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Nadine at Goodreads

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Review: Crooked Hallelujah

Crooked Hallelujah Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Can I love anything the way that I used to love the mystery of my mother, her strength in suffering?"

This novel follows four generations of Cherokee women from the 1970s into the near future, mostly focusing on their relationships with each other. One mother, Justine, leaves the comfort of her family to try to make a better living in Texas with her daughter Reney, and those two are largely the focus.

There is a thread of Pentecostalism throughout as Justine's mother attends a Holiness church, meaning long dresses and speaking in tongues and a lot of rules. That sets the stage for quite a bit of rebellion and subterfuge.

I've seen so many reviews from readers complaining there are "not enough" native elements, so disappointed these strong women are not "being more Cherokee" and how it is "really just about poor people." I don't even know where to start with readers who punish a book for their own lack of understanding. Others were upset over having to work to figure out the narrator in new sections. Please ignore those reviews if you are interested in the lives of strong women with a lot working against them, in a bleak landscape like Oklahoma and Texas, and if you're not afraid of a little work on the reader's part.

This book comes out July 14 and I had a copy from the publisher through Netgalley.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Review: That We May Live

That We May Live That We May Live by Chen Si'an
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The essential idea behind Calico is, let's talk to the translators... find out what's interesting, what's not being published in English, what's percolating in other parts of the world that we haven't heard about yet. THAT WE MAY LIVE is a collection of speculative Chinese fiction... of unnerving, uncanny, weird stories about urbanization and late capitalism." - Chad Felix of Two Lines Press in this interview.

I've been reading these stories very slowly, just one every few days/weeks or so, since I shelved it next to my computer where I work all the time. They definitely feel like they are in conversation with other works from Asia, particularly South Korea, but that connection may be more about what has been translated vs. what hasn't been.

Sour Meat by Dorothy Tse
A surreal story about a stinky brew, also about women's bodies... would have loved some editor or translator notes with some context as it seems intentionally sexual as if it is trying to push boundaries, but what are the boundaries in China, I don't know....

Auntie Han's Modern Life by Enoch Tam
"Every time she came home, she felt as if it were to a different house on a different street."
garden-keepers cultivating skyscrapers
houses that move, houses that are depressed

Lip Service by Zhu Hui
Oof! A punchy tale of what a naturally beautiful woman has to be willing to do to stay on top.

The Elephant by Chan Chi Wa
Clearly in conversation with "The Elephant Vanishes" by Haruki Murakami, the narrator of this story has a similar emotional experience about an elephant but it has the added layer of living in a state of surveillance.

The Mushroom Houses Proliferated in District M by Enoch Tam
Continuing the themes of the earlier story by the same author, it's about the garden keepers and their war with the mushrooms.

A Counterfeit Life by Chen Si'an
"He started roaming around every corner of the city, searching for those spots in which people being waited for might fail to show up."

Flourishing Beasts by Yan Ge
Are you a [woman] or are you a [beast]?
View all my reviews

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Review: Daughters of Smoke and Fire

Daughters of Smoke and Fire Daughters of Smoke and Fire by Ava Homa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Leila and Chia are siblings in Kurdistan, technically in the Kurdish part of Iran, when their father is named an enemy of the state and not allowed to work. Their family struggles for money while both children also try to get an education, but the odds are not in Leila's favor (and she wants to be a filmmaker in a region that polices everything including books and films.) Then her brother disappears....

In my year of reading more in the Middle East, this novel came at a perfect time. The author is also from Kurdistan/Iran but had greater access to education through scholarship programs overseas (the novel was written in English.) Homa shows how governments (plural) intentionally keep the Kurdish people down through keeping their regions from developing, limiting access to education, and requiring children not to speak their childhood language.

I had a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss; it came out May 12, 2020.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Books Read June 2020: 136-164


Pictured: 5-star reads for June

All Books Read:

136. Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley; my review)
137. Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, translated by Brian FitzGibbon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
138. The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
139. Scorpionfish by Natalie Bakopoulos ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley; my review)
140. A World Between by Emily Hashimoto ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from publisher; my review)
141. Unfit to Print by KJ Charles, read by Vikas Adam ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Hoopla audiobook; my review)
142. Homie by Danez Smith ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from publisher; my review)
143. Apsara Engine by Bishakh Kumar Som ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from publisher; my review)
144. These Ghosts are Family by Maisy Card ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley; my review)
145. The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, narrated by Robin Miles ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Audible audiobook; my review)
146. Countdown City by Ben H. Winters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Kindle eBook; my review)
147. The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley; my review)
148. The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann, translated by Jen Calleja ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
149. You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from NetGalley; my review)
150. Rage Against the Minivan by Kristen Howerton ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
151. IraqiGirl by "Hadiya" ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (personal copy; my review)
152. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
153. Things That Make White People Uncomfortable by Michael Bennett ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (personal copy; my review)
154. Everything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazon Prime ebook; my review)
155. Can You Feel This? by Julie Orringer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazon Prime ebook; my review)
156. The Lion's Den by Anthony Marra ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazon Prime ebook; my review)
157. Zenith Man by Jennifer Haigh ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazon Prime ebook; my review)
158. The Weddings by Alexander Chee ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Amazon Prime ebook; my review)
159. The Eighth Life by Nino Harataschwili, translated by Charlotte Collins & Ruth Martin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from Edelweiss; my review)
160. The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (personal copy; my review)
161. The Fire Never Goes Out by Noelle Stevenson ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
162. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (print galley from publisher; my review)
163. Home by Jenn Alexander ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (eARC from publisher; my review)
164. Catrachos by Roy G. Guzmán ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (Graywolf Galley Club; my review)

Books read: 29

Audiobook: 2
eBook: 17
Print: 10

Library copy: 1 (not surprising as none of my libraries are open!)
Personal copy: 11
Review copy: 17

MiddleEast2020: 2
PrideMonth: 10
#ReadCaribbean: 1
ReadingEnvySummerReading: 1

Biography/Memoir: 2
Poetry: 2
Romance: 4
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 2
YA: 1

Camp ToB: 1
International Booker Prize: 2

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Reading Envy 194: Squirreling Books Away with Andrew

Jenny welcomes Andrew to discuss books, and we discuss myth and folk tale retellings, classics, and reading around the world. Andrew finishes every book he starts and has been in the same book group for 20 years.

Download or listen via this link: Reading Envy 194: Squirreling Books Away

Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via Apple Podcasts by clicking: Subscribe
Or listen through TuneIn
Or listen on Google Play
Or listen via Stitcher
Or listen through Spotify 
New! Listen through Google Podcasts


Books discussed:



Middlemarch by George Eliot
These Ghosts are Family by Maisy Card
Old School by Tobias Wolff
The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
Swansong by Kerry Andrew


Other mentions:

The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon
Thomas Hardy
D.H. Lawrence
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
Shirley by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Austen
BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time podcast
Literary Disco Podcast
Silas Marner by George Eliot
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Ulysses by James Joyce
Ulysses dramatisation

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
The Eighth Life by Nino Harataschwili
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
Milkman by Anna Burns
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Age 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend
Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Robert Frost
Ayn Rand
Ernest Hemingway
New Yorker Podcast - Tobias Wolff
The other Tobias Wolfe
Marian Keyes
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Molly Brown
Folk on Foot Podcast
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (and it's Oedipus, not Hansel and Gretel!)
Country by Michael Hughes
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
The Prince of West End Avenue by Alan Isler (not available in USA)
IraqiGirl: the Diary of a Teenage Girl in Iraq


Related episodes:

Episode 099 - Readalong: The Secret History
Episode 176 - Best of 2019
Episode 182 - Reading Slump with Eleanor Thoele
Episode 192 - Sly Milieu with Thomas

Stalk us online:

Jenny at Goodreads
Jenny on Twitter
Jenny is @readingenvy on Instagram and Litsy
Andrew at Goodreads
Andrew is @andrew61 on Litsy

Monday, June 29, 2020

Review: The Eighth Life

The Eighth Life The Eighth Life by Nino Haratischwili
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book has had my complete attention every spare minute of the last week, and I was absorbed from page 1 to page 944. A family saga that starts with the four daughters of a Georgian chocolatier, through wars and revolutions and generations. That's the country of Georgia, which I knew almost nothing about.

I always say I find my best reads on the long but not shortlists of awards and this is no exception (longlisted for the International Booker) - any other books I've picked up while reading this have paled in comparison.

I had copy from the publisher through Edelweiss but it took me a while to get to it. It came out April 14, 2020.

View all my reviews